About Us

Smart Works Birmingham opened in August 2016 to support unemployed women in the region through the Smart Works dressing and interview coaching service.

“The first few weeks as Chairwoman  of Smart Works has been focussed on helping the charity move to better located premises at the BVSC building in Digbeth, just below Selfridges, providing a central location that enables our referrals and volunteers easier access to our services.  Continuing the good work that has gone before by the team that set up the Birmingham Office places us in a great position to move forward with a view to increasing the number of women that will benefit from our valuable service. “

Philippa Pickavance - Current Chairwoman of Smart Works Birmingham

We give our clients a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep) and we provide one-to-one preparation training so they feel more confident and start believing in their own ability to succeed.

The two hours our clients spend with us can be transformative.

All of our Smart Works service delivery is provided by a team of highly skilled, fully trained volunteers and all our stock is donated through other working women or comes direct from our retail partners such as Hobbs, Whistles and Evans.

Introducing the team behind Smart Works Birmingham

  • Philippa Pickavance

    Philippa Pickavance became Chairwoman and a Trustee of Smart Works Birmingham in July 2018.

    She  has run her own Commercial property agency firm, Philippa Pickavance Real Estate as a sole trader for the last 5 years and specialises in acquiring, letting and selling office buildings and thus was well placed to negotiate good terms for Smart Works’ new lease. She has worked in Birmingham City Centre for over 35 years, where she was previously a Partner or Director at larger Commercial property firms. She spent 17 years with King Sturge (now merged with JLL) and also headed the commercial agency team at Drivers Jonas before they merged with accountancy firm Deloitte. Her aim is to use her business contacts to secure funds for Smart Works Birmingham so that the employees and volunteers can concentrate on providing a first class service for our clients.  She also has experience in charity fundraising, events organisation, marketing and PR and was previously a Trustee of Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

  • Ruth Paulin

    Ruth has had a 35 year career as a senior manager in healthcare. She has supported and developed many individuals to fulfil their potential during this time through mentoring and coaching. Ruth brings her operational and people skills and experience to Smart Works Birmingham as our Treasurer and Trustee.

  • Lucy Jeynes

    Lucy is one of the founding partners of Larch Consulting and has over 20 years’ experience in advising on all aspects of service strategy and delivery. She has been voted by her peers as a Pioneer of FM, one of the 20 Most Influential Women in FM and is a former Midlands Businesswoman of the Year.  She is a governor of South and City College, Birmingham, a founding committee member of Women in FM, sits on BIFM Members Council and is a Trustee for Smart Works Birmingham.

  • Caroline Wilkie

    Caroline has run her own IT Consultancy business for over 25 years, managing projects and helping blue-chip and public sector clients with IT strategy, business change and transformation.  She has always been passionate about increasing the numbers of women working in IT and is part of BCS Women, which provides mentoring and coaching for women in the Computer Industry.  She has also been active in her local community for many years, leading fundraising that successfully provided EU funding to create a new Community Orchard and is a Parish Councillor.  We are pleased to have her on board as a Trustee.

  • T C Peppercorn

    TC Peppercorn works as a Styling Coach at John Lewis, Birmingham. She also runs her own arts consultancy, Make/Do Creative, delivering workshops and training to schools, community groups and businesses. She has been a volunteer stylist at Smart Works Birmingham since it opened in 2016. She is proud to have represented the charity at the NEC Skills Show in 2017 and delighted at her recent appointment as a trustee

  • Jilly Cosgrove

    Jilly founded Barques, a design, marketing and pr agency, back in 1989.  With over 25 years experience in the industry she is well known in the city.  She is Chairman of the charity Property for Kids, and organises a number of fundraising events throughout the year for other charities.  She is an Ambassador for the RBSA, a Director of the Jewellery Quarter Association, sits on the board of Openland and has now become a Trustee for Smart Works Birmingham.

  • Victoria Camfield

    Victoria is a partner at global law firm Squire Patton Boggs where she specialises in commercial property work, advising landlords, tenants, investors and developers; her first job as a new Trustee was to help Philippa on the legal aspects of the relocation of Smart Works Birmingham to Digbeth!  As an active member of the Birmingham business community where she has worked for over 20 years, Victoria is delighted to have joined Smart Works Birmingham as a Trustee and will be bringing her legal skills to the role of Company Secretary.


  • Ann Powell

    Ann is the Manager of Smart Works Birmingham, looking after client appointments, volunteers, stock and some of our key partnerships.

  • Megan Shanahan

    Megan  is our apprentice at Smart Works Birmingham. She helps out with volunteer management, engaging with our referral partners, social media and deals with taking bookings and general enquiries.